“My wine is my imagination with the soil; I am only the manager.”
Alfredo Maestro is a self taught pioneer of natural wines in Ribero del Duero, Spain. But he doesn’t use the term ‘natural’ instead his focus is on quality with the intention to respect the characteristics of each terroir. If they are natural then so much the better.
Alfredo grew up amongst the vineyards in the Ribero del Duero. In the early 1990’s, after a career in economics, he began studying winemaking and viticulture from textbooks, which of course, at the time, taught winemaking with chemicals – sulfur, acids, enzymes, color extractors, color fasteners, stabilizers, etc. Alfredo soon grew tired of this ‘more is better’ philosophy and didn’t like the wines – they seemed to him somewhat strong and artificial. So in 2000 he began eliminating chemical intervention in his winemaking – following his passion for organic practices in the vineyards.
His wines became stylistic stories of the land, elegant and pure – each single vineyard cuvée reflective of the characteristics of the soil, the plant, the weather, the entire ecosystem of the vineyard. Alfredo believes that when you have this knowledge of your farming there is no need for chemical intervention – and the quality of the wines speak for themselves.
He works mainly with Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Garnacha and Garnacha Tintorera and for the whites – Albillo, Moscato and Grenache Gris. He still makes wine from his originally purchased plot of 5 acres of Tempranillo (Vina Almate) but currently also farms several other vineyards mainly in Ribera del Duero, Cigales, near Valladolid the provincial capital of Castilla y León and also Sierra de Gredos. All of the wines are labelled under the all encompassing Castilla y Leon.
The vines average 80 years in age – ranging from 20 to 127 years old – all with various soil types – from alluvial in the valley, clay from the hills, then towards the top of the valley there is limestone, calcereous soil – which gives great acidity to the wines.
After de-stemming, indigenous yeast fermentation takes place in stainless steel without temperature control; they are then racked and aged in un-toasted French oak. No sulphur is added to the white wines and as with Texier, Lapierre etc. there is just a touch of sulfur added at bottling for the reds that head to North America – no more than 20mg total.
Wines truly reflective of the land, crafted with extensive knowledge and care – and of course delicious.